Probe into Bob Cassilly's Death Leads to Fireworks for Crime Watch Daily

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It's common knowledge for public relations professionals and TV news junkies alike: If you don't want to look like you're hiding something, never, ever threaten someone on camera.

But apparently Janet Jump, the wife of the late Bob Cassilly's business partner, hasn't been watching enough Elliott Davis. Her angry response to a camera crew from Crime Watch Daily provided the biggest fireworks in the episode probing Cassilly's death that aired Monday afternoon across the nation.

As the episode portrayed it, from the minute that camera crews showed up at her doorstep, Janet Jump was livid. "No, no, no," she greeted reporter Jason Mattera, visibly seething. "You can't do this. You can't film." Then she proceeded to chase him down her front walkway — barefoot — to the sidewalk and even accosted him, seemingly shaking with rage.

While the confrontation didn't do much to advance the story, it certainly made for compelling TV — and naturally, figured prominently in its promotional teasers.





"You're going to be sorry you were here," Jump told Mattera.

"Are you threatening me?" Mattera asked, all doe-eyed innocence. "You said I was going to be sorry I was here."

Spitting mad, Jump was reduced to snarling, "Nice makeup job, by the way." Yowza!

Overall, despite the diversion provided by Jump's on-camera theatrics, RFT readers won't find much new in Crime Watch Daily's reporting. The show does, however, ably explore many facts we've previously reported, from the police failure to retain DNA evidence to an expert's belief that Cassilly was beaten to death.

As even the show is quick to say, neither Dave Jump nor his wife is a suspect in Cassilly's death — Mattera sought out Dave Jump only because he knew Cassilly well and wanted his opinion on the murder theory. The St. Louis businessman helped Cassilly buy out his wife Gail's 50 percent stake in the City Museum after their bitter divorce; after Cassilly's death, his estate ended up in probate and Dave Jump ended up owning City Museum. (Cassilly's third wife Giovanna, who is pushing for a bona fide investigation into her husband's death, owns Cementland, the former cement plant the sculptor was reinventing in north St. Louis.)

Giovanna Cassilly's attorney Albert Watkins hints at trouble in the partnership, but beyond Watkins' words, the show doesn't do much to develop the thread.

"Well, it's very clear from the research we've done that there were protracted periods of acrimony between Dave and Bob," Watkins tells the cameras. "And I can only imagine that Bob, from a business standpoint, would be very, very difficult to work with."

Watkins adds later, "Bob liked to do things his way, and sometimes that rubbed other people the wrong way. And Bob, for better or for worse, really didn't care how he rubbed other people."

Albert Watkins, Giovanna Cassily and Jason Mattera at Cementland. - IMAGE VIA YOUTUBE
  • image via YouTube
  • Albert Watkins, Giovanna Cassily and Jason Mattera at Cementland.

One very interesting detail, however, is visible for the first time on the show, and it comes from still photos taken of the crime scene soon after Cassilly's death. These photos, newly obtained by Watkins and Giovanna Cassilly, show a far more panoramic view of Cassilly's final resting place than the previous crime scene photos published by the RFT.

And, as Watkins points out, they do little to back up the medical examiner's theory that the bulldozer got to its resting place by tumbling down a hillside. As he tells Crime Watch Daily, they do not show the sort of extensive scarring that you would expect on a hillside if a 32,585-pound piece of machinery did somersaults down it.

Even more damning? The photos show bulldozer tracks leading from the base of the hill to where the bulldozer was found, suggesting, in Mattera's words, "it was deliberately placed there."

In essence, that's always been Watkins' strongest argument. Very little physical evidence suggests the bulldozer rolled over and over. And if it didn't roll — if it was instead driven down a path to the spot where Cassilly's body was found — then the noted sculptor simply could not have been killed in a tragic construction accident. At that point, foul play becomes the only theory that makes any sense.

True crime aficionados would be wise to pay special attention to part two of the episode; the whole thing has now posted in its entirety online, split into three parts.

Those looking for theatrics? They'll find that courtesy of Janet Jump in part three.

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We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com